Life on the mississippi review

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life on the mississippi review

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

I first read this book fifty years ago when I was in high school, and I recalled Twains account of his days as a Mississippi steamboat pilots apprentice as a work of great humor and style with quintessentially American themes, equal in power to Huckleberry Finn. A recent re-reading has left me both gratified and disappointed: gratified because Twains history and description of the ever-changing Mississippi and his account of his life as a young river pilot are just good as I remembered them, but disappointed because this account occupies only the first third of the book.

The other two-thirds has moments of equal power--Twains account of his return to his boyhood home Hannibal, for example--but most of it is a casually organized travelogue of a trip up the Mississippi by the fifty-year-old Twain, interrupted by random anecdotes and tall tales. This second two-thirds is uneven but entertaining, full of characteristic Twain humor; it is as good as Roughing It, a book I like and admire.

Nevertheless, it nowhere equals the power of the first hundred pages. And a book the ends worse than it began is always a disappointment.
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Along the Mississippi: The Deep South (Part 1 - Full Documentary) - TRACKS

Life on the Mississippi book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. A stirring account of America's vanished past The book. .
Mark Twain

Evan Leatherwood

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In the good old golden days of English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, when authors and editors stalked one another with cudgels and horsewhips, it was the leisurely and genteel fashion to lard a review with generous quotations from the book in question, a fat sandwich between thin slices of asides, laudatory and otherwise, by the reviewer. This will no longer do, but I wonder how else to do justice to Richard Bissell's latest book. Moreover, Bissell is blessed with an ease of style styles, rather , which inspire reviewer's brackets on page after page of the following:. George and the Page hotels, and good old Jazzbo All the bright talents of the Urban Renewal demolition squads have been unable to quash the annual advent of the Mormon flies from the river. There they swirl in swarms around the street lamps, there they lie in drifts along the sidewalks, wiggling and squirming as they perish in wormy disarray.

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Twain's River, Life on the Mississippi, Travel Show

That was, to be a steamboatman. We had transient ambitions of other sorts, but they were only transient. Mark Twain for it is he goes on:. These ambitions faded out, each in its turn, but the ambition to be a steamboatman always remained. Life on the Mississippi is not just the brilliant sketch that precedes the vaster and more colourful canvas of a celebrated novel, it expresses the heart and soul of Samuel Clemens, the alter ego of Mark Twain.

Clemens's book, twelve are reprinted from The Atlantic ; but they are so full of entertaining and instructive matter that they will repay a second reading. In the three introductory ones which precede these, the physical character of the river is sketched, and brief reference is made to the early travelers and explorers of the stream, -- De Soto, Marquette, and La Salle; these latter belonging to the epoch of what Mr. Clemens quaintly calls "historical history," as distinguished from that other unconventional history, which he does not define, but certainly embodies in the most graphic form. There are some good touches in this opening portion; as where the author refers to "Louis XIV. When De Soto found it, he was not hunting for a river, and had no present occasion for one; consequently he did not value it, or even take any particular notice of it. Rude, sturdy, unflinching, and raw though the picture is, it is likely to stand a long while as a wonderful transcript from nature, and as a memorial of the phase of existence which is describes that will not easily be surpassed in the future. The chapter on Racing Days is perhaps a little disappointing, although suggestive.

A few words about an underappreciated piece of reading technology. Talking about underlining in books. You find out quick that if you do it wrong, you ruin the book. If you do it right, though, you create a precious heirloom. How do you do it right? Use a ruler, for starters. They make little stubby ones for this purpose.


  1. Nolasco T. says:

    Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

  2. Jeanne I. says:

    Life on the Mississippi

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